Garrison Brothers Distillery has created a bourbon not quite like the others in its award-winning lineup — a whiskey infused with Texas honey.
The Hill Country booze business has made its mark with traditional bourbons crafted from start to finish in the Hye distillery, using sweet mash bills, charred new oak barrels and the scorching Texas heat. But for the latest project, a new ingredient, honey, was added at the request of owner Dan Garrison’s wife and business partner, Nancy.
She has wanted a honey-sweetened bourbon since the couple founded the distillery together 12 years ago and finally got her wish when Dan Garrison, though not a fan of flavored whiskeys, finally relented, according to a press release.
The resulting bourbon, featuring Burleson’s Texas Wildflower Honey, will release at the Hye distillery on Aug. 17, the day before World Honeybee Day. Only 4,000 bottles of HoneyDew are available, and even traditional whiskey aficionados like Dan Garrison might want to get their hands on one.
"I’ve been drinking bourbon since I was 13 years old. Our HoneyDew is the most magical nectar I have ever tasted," Garrison said in the release. "It is light, delicate, gentle, floral, and perfect for sipping on the porch in the summertime."
Honey-infused bourbon is not a novel idea. Several well-known brands — such as Jack Daniel’s and Jim Beam — have released their own versions of the whiskey. But perhaps none of them have made it as Garrison Brothers’ master distiller Donnis Todd has.
Garrison’s objection to flavored whiskeys comes in part from how he said they’re created: as chemical concoctions that can feature synthetic organic compounds such as propylene glycol, according to the release. But to make HoneyDew, Todd chose a more natural way of infusing bourbon with honey, transforming used, empty bourbon barrels into small, wooden cubes that were immersed in Burleson’s honey.
During the process, four-year-old Garrison Brothers Small Batch Bourbon mellowed for seven months in a stainless steel tank. When Todd was convinced the cubes had absorbed the honey — an infusion done in part through a patented technique — he placed them into the belly of the stainless steel tank, letting the bourbon soak up those honey flavors every day during the seven months.
Expect notes of "sweet elderberry syrup, yeast, yellow-flesh peaches, apricots, white chocolate and, of course, delicious, golden Texas honey" in the HoneyDew bourbon, according to the release.
The whiskey release party on Aug. 17, dubbed the HoneyDew Hullabaloo, will have frozen HoneyDew cocktails by Frost 321, a mobile cigar lounge by Habana Cowboy and a honey-education tent by Burleson’s Honey. The celebration runs from noon to 6 p.m. at the Hye distillery at 1827 Hye Albert Rd. That’s where you can pick up a bottle, being sold only at Garrison Brothers for $69.99.
And if you miss out on grabbing a bottle of HoneyDew? You’ll likely get another chance to do it in the future.
"This bourbon will absolutely be released commercially some day," Garrison said in the press release.
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